Chronic Foster Care
Children in foster care are best supported through a continuum of care that provides individual ongoing services from beginning to end. All children, regardless of their type of placement, should receive individual attention from their caregivers. As well, every effort should be made to rapidly establish a permanent placement for a child in foster care. Residential group homes remain an integral part of the continuum of services for many foster children. One justification given for placing children in residential group care is that their behavior is deemed to be too difficult to be managed effectively in a foster home.
I worked as a residential counselor in a group home for three years. Many residential treatment programs are structured around a point and level system in which foster children are rewarded for compliance with rules. In my experience there was not much room for individual development or treatment potentially exposing the children to ineffective or even harmful residential services. It did not provide the opportunity that I was looking for to assist children.
After working in residential settings, I decided that I wanted to be a part of the permanency process of foster care. Sierra Forever Families focuses on finding and nurturing permanent families for children living in foster care. In my current role, I have observed the significant impact that a permanency placement has on a child living in foster care. It is clear that foster care can be both a positive experience and a healing process for a child when permanency is established. Children can thrive with the long term stability of living with a loving family who has made a forever commitment to them. There are thousands of children currently living in foster care that are available for adoption. Every child deserves a permanent home. Every child deserves a forever family.